Talk to me about benchtop bandsaws

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 03-15-2011 06:55 AM 2502 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1678 posts in 2874 days

03-15-2011 06:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

I currently have a vintage 12” craftsman BS (circa (1970). I’ve had it for about six months now. I bought it via craigslist for next to nothing. I had almost no experience with bandsaws at the time, and thought this dinosaur would be good to learn the ropes with. I also didn’t want to shell out big coin on a newer model “A”, only to find out that I really needed/wanted model “B”. Heck, for all I knew, I wouldn’t use the thing at all. I figured I’d spend some time with this old beater until I had a clue.
Well, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the BS is my favorite machine to work with, and I’m convinced money spent on a more capable machine would be well spent. My current sears BS is usuable, but it has a really small table, limited cutting height (4”), and a weak 3/4hp (supposedly) aftermarket motor. I’m thinking I’ll replace it with some sort of 14” Taiwanese machine. Probably something I find on CL.
One thing I dislike abuout the BS is changing blades. Compared to other machines, changing a BS blade is a painful process. So I’m considering having one BS for for larger jobs such as resawing, and another for pattern cutting and other small, crafty stuff. That way, I can keep a 3/8-1/2 blade on the large machine, and a 1/8-1/4 blade on the small one. I don’t have enough room in my tiny shop to maintain two floor standing machines, otherwise I’d keep the sears BS for the small jobs. So I’m thinking about some sort of 9”-10” benchtop model that I can stash/grab when needed. So with all that said:
Are the benctop models even worth having?
Any particular model I should consider or avoid?

10 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8186 posts in 3617 days

#1 posted 03-15-2011 11:06 AM

The lightweight plastic and aluminum ones tend to vibrate a lot more than the steel and cast iron versions. There’s a 10” Craftsman Rikon clone that gets high marks but the 9” offering isn’t on par with it.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View terry603's profile


321 posts in 3155 days

#2 posted 03-15-2011 03:01 PM

stay away from any three wheeled benchtops.

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 2931 days

#3 posted 03-15-2011 03:01 PM

i don’t think i would use a benchtop bandsaw that wasn’t bolted down. they vibrate a lot a would tend to walk around if not mounted. i have a ryobi 9” benchtop myself.

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3316 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 04:13 PM

Having both a big BS for resawing and heavy duty work and a small one for more delicate work is a great idea. I have that. My small BS is the ShopSmith 11”. I added a Carter Stabilizer to it and it is a great little bandsaw.

My Big BS is an 18” Jet. I leave a 3/4” blade on it all the time. Changing the blades on the little saw is pretty easy (much easier than changing the blades on the big one). I use 3/16” most of the time but will switch to 1/8” if I have to make some real tight curves.

btw – Changing blades on bigger band saws is not just difficult. It can be dangerous.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3212 days

#5 posted 03-15-2011 05:27 PM

Ive had a little plastic and aluminum, 3 wheeled Delta. It was a real POS. I’d rather have a scroll saw than this thing.

I was planing to get the little Sears Craftsman 10” Rikon clone when it was on sale last summer for $179, but had to buy a new washing machine instead.

Then a couple months later Woodcraft had a sale on the same saw with a Rikon badge, for $199 and I had a 10% off coupon and a $25 gift card for my birthday so I got the 10” Rikon. I love this machine.
The 10” Rikon/Craftsman mahine has 4 3/8” resaw capacity (if you are not in a hurry) and a 1/3hp motor. The Table is cast iron, the fence is included. This saw is also sold by Jet (for $349). It’s just a nice little saw.

It’s also worth mentioning that Sears sells a 12” version of this machine. It’s also a Rikon clone, with 7” resaw capacity and a 3/4 hp motor. It would be a good in-between choice it you were only going for one machine. I have seen it on sale for $249, usually around father’s day.

Then there are many other posts on this forum relating to the 14” bandsaw sold by Harbor Freight. It generally get pretty good reviews and can be purchased around $300 so it appears to be a lot of bang for the buck; but I don’t have one myself.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3283 days

#6 posted 03-15-2011 05:47 PM

DO NOT get the Hitachi CB6Y, it is more useless than me, I know hard to believe.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3473 days

#7 posted 03-15-2011 06:08 PM

I have a “happy medium” of a 14” floor model band saw with a riser block. Unless you are super constrained for space, I wouldn’t bother with a bench top model saw. Too limited in capacity. If you need to cut tight curves in thinner stock, use a scroll saw.

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View BalloonKiller's profile


4 posts in 2870 days

#8 posted 03-15-2011 10:35 PM

I’ve got a Powermatic 14” with a riser block that I wanted to leave setup for resawing so I got the Craftsman 10” Rikon clone off CL for curve cutting. I like the small one but setting up the blade guides was a miserable experience compared to the Powermatic. It’s nice to go between the two without having to reset everything.

View Magnum's profile


10935 posts in 3274 days

#9 posted 03-16-2011 01:00 AM

Do NOT buy the Ryobi 9 inch, Model BS (They got that part right) 902.

Everything works just fine…..EXCEPT ..the Lower Blade Guides are a full 2 inches Under the Bottom of the Table, Inside the Plastic case. Good Luck helping to guide the Blade!

I thought this years Model might have been improved upon. It was!! The Blade Guides are now Roller Guides … the Same Place!

-- Made In Ontario, CANADA

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3964 days

#10 posted 03-16-2011 03:18 AM

I also have a vintage (1964) Craftsman 12” bandsaw and it probably gets used more than any other saw in my shop. Prior to this saw I have had a 9” piece of junk, and a 10” Rockwell that wasn’t much better.

If I ever find a vintage Delta 14” for less than an Arm and a Leg, I may buy one, but for now the 12” Craftsman works for me.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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